Bill Improving Student Access to Rape Kits To Be Introduced
(Sacramento) – A bill that will ensure availability of rape kits on all University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and private university campuses across the state will be introduced by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). If passed, UC, CSU, and private university campuses will have access to rape kits either on campus or nearby.
“When my constituent came to me and said a student had to drive more than 50 miles to the nearest available rape kit, it made no sense to me.” Continues Garcia, “My goal with this legislation is to increase access to rape kits for college students to a place where they spend most of their time, where they feel safe, and have regular access to the health center and public safety services.”
Research found that the closest rape kits were as far as an hour away from campus. The long distance from a rape kit impedes access to necessary services the student deserves. Even 10 miles in Los Angeles traffic can be challenging for most students, especially after a traumatic experience such as rape. Finding a ride to a clinic that is at least half an hour or more away guarantees that rapes are underreported. Students can’t easily get off campus, so having access to rape kits nearby might help increase rape reporting.
Studies show that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college careers. Approximately 70% of rapes go unreported and a lack of access to rape kits won’t do anything to help increase collection rates or rape reporting. This legislation will require urban UC, CSU and private university campuses to have a rape kit accessible within five miles of campus and 10 miles for rural campuses. If there isn’t access to free rape kits and full medical care within the five or 10-mile radius, then the services must be provided free of cost at the UC campus health center.
“It is unacceptable to expect any victim to travel an hour to then endure three hours of rape kit collection,” said Garcia. “While legislation alone won’t prevent rape, ensuring victims have the resources they need to go from being a victim to a survivor is important to me and I think we can get there.”
This legislation was formulated with the help of constituents. This idea was submitted for the 58th Assembly District’s There Ought To Be A Law Contest. Constituents submit their proposals and whomever is selected will travel to Sacramento to participate in the legislative process. This submission was selected to be one of this year’s winners after Assemblymember Garcia heard about the lack of access to rape kits on university campuses statewide.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.
Contact: Ashley Labar, (916) 319-2058